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Rick Lubbers column: An update on our COVID-19 coverage from the editor's desk

Some words of thanks in a time of unprecedented news.

Rick Lubbers.jpg
Rick Lubbers

Dear reader:

I’ve worked at the Duluth News Tribune and other Twin Ports newspapers for 23 years and have seen a lot of hard-hitting news stories. I was shocked alongside the rest of our nation when 9/11 happened and humbled as I watched our area communities rally together to fight the 2012 flood and dig out from last year's Thanksgiving weekend blizzard.

Most experienced journalists are rarely surprised by the news. But what is happening with the COVID-19 pandemic right now leaves me stunned.

No doubt, there are many professions pulling together to work harder than they’ve ever worked during this unprecedented time — health care workers, school leaders, grocers and small-business owners desperately adjusting their business models to digital wherever possible.

Just the same, our newsroom has been hard at work to deliver non-stop coverage on the topics our communities rely on us to cover. We’ve had to adjust many things along the way, like asking some of our reporters to deliver the news from their homes to minimize risk and adapting to a news cycle that’s even more fast-paced and ever-changing than usual.

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From keeping citizens informed on the latest cancellations and alerting the public of new COVID-19 cases that have cropped up to compiling the countless changes this pandemic is provoking across our region, our reporters have mobilized around our mission to inform and connect our communities at a time when physical connection is sadly not recommended.

During this time, we’ve also made the decision to remove our paywall from our coronavirus coverage in the interest of ensuring that the lack of a subscription does not become a barrier to obtaining information critical to public safety.

We are committed to continuing the work that is vital to our communities, but these efforts do rely on support from subscribers. And so I am asking, if you are able, to please consider supporting this work with a subscription — either in print or online.

One in five U.S. communities has shuttered its news-gathering operations in the past 15 years. And as I report from our newsroom during this pandemic, I can’t help but feel for the communities that no longer have access to the strong local journalism we have here — the journalism we are still able to produce because of the support from our subscribers.

If you are so moved, you can view our subscription offers at duluthnewstribune.com/subscribe . If you are already a subscriber, please accept our thanks for your support today and into the ever-changing future.

Stay safe,

Rick Lubbers

Executive Editor

Rick Lubbers has been in his role since 2014 and at the News Tribune since 2005. Previous stops include the Superior Telegram (1999-2005) and Budgeteer News (1997-1999). Prior to that, he worked at the St. Cloud Times and Annandale Advocate in Minnesota, and the Greenville Daily News and Grand Rapids Press in Michigan. He received his journalism degree at Central Michigan University.
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